Soaring to Success
15 July 2014 at 10:15 am
It’s only been seven months since Little Wings Founder and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Robinson won a Westpac Community Sector Leader Award, but in that short time he says his organisation has soared to success both in the air and on the ground.
|Little Wings Founder and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Robinson.|
Robinson took out last year’s award for Start-up, Not for Profit Executive – a category open to leaders who have set up an organisation dedicated to community service within the last two years.
He said since his win at the inaugural Westpac Community Leaders Awards, his organisation has been focussed on developing its processes and procedures that ensure safe flight operations, as well as developing ground support services essential for moving people from the hospital to the airport.
“Little Wings had a goal of completing 180 flight operations in the financial year to 2014 to help 250 people, but with a lot of hard work and great community support we have been able to complete 224 flights and have helped 530 people, which was an amazing success and we are very proud of,” Robinson said.
“Our most important goal now is to ensure we have the funding to maintain this service and develop this so we can assist the many more who need our help.”
He said Little Wings had also been raising awareness of its service and marketing its brand to gain community support and work towards attracting a major sponsor that would be interested in supporting the service.
And they were successful, the organisation has now secured a four-year sponsor partnership with ClubsNSW.
“ClubsNSW are now a foundation partner and have committed to $240,000 to help us provide our service to communities across NSW,” he said.
“It’s wonderful that ClubsNSW has shared our vision, and taken the initiative to make a difference.”
Robinson said the exposure from winning his Westpac Community Leader award had been invaluable.
“To have a respected, high-profile organisation like Westpac endorse what you are doing is something that the community takes notice of,” he said.
“As a start-up organisation it takes years to build awareness, credibility and create a profile, but something like this have achieved much more than we could have done.
“We can’t express enough thanks and gratitude to Westpac for what they have done with this community award.”
As part of his award Robinson won $5000 grant, which went straight into flight costs.
He also won Westpac Davidson Institute financial education training, which he will be using early 2015.
“Again this is something we would not have had access to without the support from the Community Service Leaders Awards,” he said.
For the year ahead, Robinson said that Little Wings was focussed on acquiring a second aircraft to meet the increasing demand.
“There is clearly a much larger demand for our services and we are only helping a relatively small number of people compared to what is actually needed,” he said.
“To do this it will be essential that we acquire a second aircraft in the next 12 months. We want to be able to provide a flight service seven days a week for these children and families, and we can definitely see the demand increasing to a third aircraft as funding permits.
“Our service is also extending to interstate families who require the specialist treatment services which are only available in Sydney.
“These families use commercial flights, but need assistance when they arrive to get them to the hospital.
“Making a long trip with an ill child and having to catch a cab to Westmead is far from ideal, so we make sure we are there to greet them and get them to the hospital quickly and safely, which makes an enormous difference to these families.”
Nominations for the 2014 Westpac Community Leaders Awards, an initiative that recognises inspirational leaders across Australia who give generously of their time, capabilities and commitment to the Social Sector are now open.
This year, there are six award categories, including; Start-up Leader, Established Leader, Treasurer, Social Entrepreneurs, Board Members and Partnerships for Purpose, and each award recipient will receive financial and educational support valued at more than $12,000.
Finalists will be announced in October. For more information about the 2014 Westpac Community Leaders Awards or to nominate a leader from your community, visit: www.westpac.com.au/CLA2014
Pro Bono Australia and Westpac are partners in promoting the For Purpose Economy.